Most families that relocate to Dubai do so because the husband has been offered a job here. Just keep reading before you accuse me of being sexist! Certainly there are cases when it’s the opposite, and the woman is the one getting a job in Dubai, but despite all the equality, women rights, and feminism, this is still quite rare in the Middle East. Besides, the conditions under which a working woman brings a family with her differ from those regarding the working husband and his family.
Her salary will have to be higher, for instance. And her children will need a permission from their father to relocate. Yes, even if the woman has never been married and there is no father in the picture. Therefore, I will just focus on a standard relocation with the male being offered the job and starting the whole UAE visa process.
Anyway, the reason you and your family are coming to Dubai is to work, so your employer should do the paperwork for your visa. You should come to the country on a special employment visa; you can get this at the airport, or they can send it to you by mail. This part is relatively easy. In fact, it is easy to move when you are young and single…well, somewhat easy, apart from having no moral support from anyone in the new country. The tricky part, paperwork-wise, comes when you have a family that is moving with you. For most European countries, your spouse can get a visa upon entry.
Here is the list of visa upon entry countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Holland (Netherlands), Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK), USA, Vatican City.
If your country is not on the list, your spouse can come on a tourist or a visit visa, which should later be changed to your sponsorship visa. The laws here work in such a way that the spouse should be on a working spouse visa, that is, sponsored (usually) by the husband. For that, the husband needs income of more than 5,000 dhs and to be a resident of UAE. The wife can start her visa process only after her husband has completed his own one and has become a UAE resident. This involves his getting an Emirates ID and a place to live, complete with rental contract and utility bill.
This is where it gets complicated. In most cases, this means that the husband will have to come to the country alone and find a house and get the furniture by himself. Alternatively, he can pay a little more for a short-term furnished place. Or his wife can come with only a visitor’s UAE visa, but then she will have to leave, as the visa only allows her to be in the country for 30 days. And believe me, nothing gets done here in only 30 days.
Check the law.
The visa legislation in UAE changes all the time, so according to the recent law, the wife can enter the country for a maximum of three months, but she cannot do another visa run after that and will have to leave the country for three months before coming back again. If you are from a country that requires getting UAE visa beforehand, make sure that the company responsible for your paperwork will also get your wife a 90-day or at least a 60-day visa, as it will be easier and will give you both more time to choose an apartment you like and not be rushed into making decisions about how and where to live and become stressed about everything.
The long-term visa.
The long-term UAE visa costs a bit more, but in the end it turns out to save you and your company some money, since your spouse will not have to fly back to her home country after the 30 days period expires. Time flows differently here, as I mentioned before. Things are more relaxed and slow, so even if you try rushing, you most probably will come across the unbreakable wall of “three to ten working days”. Ah, and by all means avoid moving to this place during Ramadan, as then it will take forever to complete anything. You can always check Ramadan dates online.
Also, always keep in mind that the laws are constantly changing, so something that was applicable to your case just a few months ago, might be invalid now. Even though you probably will have a UAE visa company helping you with your case, always check the recent changes in the legislation yourself, as even they sometimes might not know something or get confused about the procedures. Prepare yourself for a time frame of a few weeks to get your employment visa and your spouse and your children visit visas.
And, most importantly, be patient!